Port operators throughout the U.S. face an array of challenges going into 2020, from increasing demands for cargo visibility to volatile markets whipsawed by global trade wars.
One more challenge may be rising up right under their noses, however, as warming ocean temperatures lead to melting polar ice caps and a gradual rise in sea level. With their location right on the waterfront, cargo ports are uniquely vulnerable to flooding, especially during hurricane season.
A new study by The Florida Ports Council says the state's 15 publicly owned seaports are well under way in their preparations for future environmental changes and disruptive events. The publication, "Seaports Resiliency Report," also outlines some of the ports' best practices for dealing with crises caused by infrastructure damage, power interruptions, workforce shortages, and disruptions to communication networks and technology.
For example, Port Everglades is working to identify the infrastructure that could be most easily disrupted due to water intrusion and is surveying the elevations of its electrical connection boxes—those connections will then be waterproofed to prevent disruption due to encroaching water. Florida ports are also laying plans to ensure broader access to fuel by collaborating with the U.S. Coast Guard and industry partners to invest in infrastructure that assists in fuel supply and distribution for faster port recovery.
#FlaPorts understand the need to plan now for sea-level rise and for potential disasters. Sharing our ports' innovative best practices will help businesses and communities along the coast better plan for future changes. -@JuliaNesheiwat #Florida's first Chief Resilience Officer. pic.twitter.com/lL88yGzfkB— FloridaPortsCouncil (@FloridaPorts) October 22, 2019